Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer
Their home's purchase is the biggest investment most people will ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.
The majority of the participants are quite familiar. The most recognizable entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to bankroll the exchange. And ensuring all requirements of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser is the title company.
So, what party is responsible for making sure the value of the property is in line with the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Blue Ridge Appraisal Co., L.L.C. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.
The inspection is where an appraisal starts
To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first perform a thorough inspection. We must actually view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the house, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.
After the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.
This is where the appraiser uses information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to derive how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.
Analyzing Comparable Sales
Appraisers get to know the subdivisions in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.
An opinion of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Blue Ridge Appraisal Co., L.L.C., we are experts in knowing the value of real estate features in Staunton and Staunton City County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a home sale.
Valuation Using the Income Approach
In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third method of valuing a house. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.
Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. But the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in case they had to put the property on the market again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Blue Ridge Appraisal Co., L.L.C. will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.
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